5 May 2018 (Saturday) - Smurfs. Malt Loaf

It *could* have been a good night’s sleep… but when I went to the loo in the small hours I inadvertently woke the puppy. She then spent an hour or so stomping about the bed, finally setting about twenty minutes after I’d got up.
As my toast cooked I spent a few minutes trying to find the cake tins I bought for the last cake-off that I was in. Mind you, bearing in mind that was on 20 August 2007 I struggled to find them.
They eventually came to light.
I then scoffed cold toast whilst looking at the internet. Not much had changed overnight. I had a wry smile when I looked; several people were asking if anyone had anything planned for the weekend. There had been the possibility of my working today, but in the end I didn’t have to. Being at something of a loose end today I too had been wondering if anyone had anything planned. During the last week several people had asked me what I had planned for the weekend. People often do that.
Perhaps I *should* have planned something.

Bearing in mind the park run kicks off at nine o’clock I put off the usual dog walk for a while. Instead I went into town to see if I could find malt extract. I went into Boots and couldn’t see any so I thought I’d ask. I stood at the counter and waited. And waited. After a while someone else joined the queue. Within seconds an assistant turned up and asked the newcomer if she could help him. I explained the English concept of queuing to them both, and took my money to Holland and Barrett where I actually got malt extract.
Have you ever been to Holland and Barrett? I went in and found several people were relating their various medical ailments, and some dopey-looking assistant was prescribing crackpot herbal cures as though she was a consultant physician. Did you know that magnesium is good for bad backs? Either in tablet or ointment form… apparently.

I got home shortly after nine o’clock. Still too early for the park. So (having now got all the ingredients) I got my malt loaf organized. The recipe is straight forward. Basically you chuck all the gooey stuff like malt and treacle and sugar and butter into a pan and get it all to melt. In the meantime you mix up all the dry stuff like fruit and yeast and flour in a bowl. Then you bung it all together with a pint of water and squish it all together. (It is at this point that you feel it has all gone west and consider flushing it down the pan)
After a bit of mixing you then slop it into the cake tins and leave it to rise for two hours… Two hours!?

"er indoors TM" was off out with Cheryl doing pre-wedding stuff this morning, so with two hours spare I took the dogs round the park. As we walked I saw a gaggle of people trying to do geocaching at one of "er indoors TM"’s caches. I stopped and had a chat; they had heard of me. Everyone seems to have heard of me; am I *that* notorious?
We carried on through the park and met several dogs from which Treacle didn’t run in terror, which was nice.

Once home I was rather disappointed to see that my malt loaves hadn’t risen much (hadn’t risen at all) but with an hour still to go I left them fermenting and mowed the lawn.
The lawnmower is knacked; there is something wrong with the dead-man’s-handle on the thing. I’d fix it if only I could get it open. But I managed to bodge through and get the lawn mowed.
And with time still on my hands I got out the pressure-washer and mucked out the front garden. It was rather grubby. As I worked nice-next-door came out. We had a chat. Her-next-door looks plump. I say “plump”; perhaps she has reaped the consequences of doing so much noisy sex. I didn’t like to ask.
As I was hosing down the front wall (as a prelude to re-painting it) some aggressive pensioner came up and started ranting about all the mess I was making. When the old fool finally shut up I pointed out I was still only half way through the job and asked him if he honestly thought I was going to leave it in such a state.
He had no answer for that. I considered giving him a blast with the pressure-washer but decided against it.

By now it was mid-day. I took a minute out of pressure-washing and put the malt loaves into the oven. I carried on squirting the garden, and as I did, I could smell a rather good smell wafting out of the kitchen.
I tidied the garden and tidied the mess I’d made when tidying, then I got the loaves out of the oven to cool.

Over lunch I realised I’d done all the stuff I had planned to do in half the time I’d planned to do it in. So (as I do when at a loose end) I put some washing in the washing machine. "er indoors TM" came home just as the second load was finishing, and we then took the dogs out again. There is a little geo-series near Doddington. Billed as a walk of an hour and a half, it filled the late afternoon quite nicely. It was a good walk, marred only by Fudge’s wilfulness. He ran off at one point as he so often does. After fifteen minutes I found him. I got to within ten yards of him and he looked me in the eye and ran off again.
When we finally caught him he went on to the lead for the rest of the day. I’m now seriously wondering if he should be allowed off of the lead. When we are round the park he straggles so slowly; when we are out and about he runs off on his own little missions.
I took a few photos of the walk. It took me three attempts to upload them; Facebook photos was playing up. But I’m not complaining; unlimited photo storage for free can’t be bad.

We took a little detour on the way home to see "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" at the new play park, and once home we tried the malt loaf for dinner. I was rather pleased with how it turned out…

I had thought that with nothing planned, today was going to be a tad dull. It wasn’t…

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